ACA Alumni Profiles

Patrick Feury

Alumnus: Patrick Feury
Graduated: 1989
Studied: Culinary Arts

When Patrick Feury became “chef/owner” of a restaurant, Nectar, for the first time, critics were very pleased. In fact, Craig La Ban, food critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, judged Nectar “one of the year’s best.” Feury came into the new venture with a track record for excellence. His accolades included a “highest distinction” rating from the Philadelphia Inquirer while he was executive chef at one of Philadelphia’s most respected restaurants, Susanna Foo.

As a student at the Academy of Culinary Arts, Feury set out to become the best by learning from the best. At more than one noteworthy place, he got his foot in the door as a “stagiaire,” an unpaid apprentice. Then he proved his worth and earned a paid position there. His prestigious training grounds included Waldorf Astoria and Le Cirque in New York City and Les Olivades in Paris. Prior to his newest venture, he was executive chef at Suilan, a restaurant developed by renowned restaurateur Susanna Foo for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City.

Present job:

Chef-owner, one of three partners in Nectar, Berwyn, Pa.

Ambience/cuisine:

Modern decor that combines serenity and drama. Red, orange and ebony color palette inspired by the robes of Tibetan monks. Modern pan-Asian cuisine, with menu designed so guests can build the meal as they wish. Traditional as well as creative items. Learn about Nectar at http://www.tastenectar.com.

Motto at the bottom of menu:

“Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.”

What I like about the job:

It allows me to focus on what I love, the food and cuisine, and to hire others to focus on other aspects.

One thing I learned at the Academy that has helped me in my career:

The drilling in techniques and classical cuisine prepared me well. When I went to work in some of the world’s best kitchens, I realized that what I’d learned at the Academy was exactly what they were doing, or very close to it.

Route to success:

Started out as a pot-washer in butcher shop at age 15. Pursued an art degree, but discovered his real love was his night job in a restaurant. Developed skill as an ice sculptor. That, plus devotion to culinary skills, allowed him to forge relationships with the best chefs and restaurants.

Networking philosophy:

I’ve always had good relationships with everyone -- I never burn bridges.

What it’s like to realize a dream:

When I got my first job at the Waldorf, I felt like I had won the lottery. Then when Le Cirque hired me, I felt like I’d won the lottery. Each time I get to do something I have dreamed of doing, I get goose bumps about getting to do it.

Secret to success:

It’s about the craft or art of cooking, not what position you have and how much money you make. If you keep focused on the food, the other things will come.

Advice to an aspiring chef:

Go and work in the best restaurant you can get into in New York City, because it’s an international city that compares to any in the world. Then take it one step further and go to Europe, to understand what happens in restaurants there.

Most important thing I learned at the Academy:

When you go to work for someone at a restaurant, the rule is that you do things the way the establishment wants things done, not necessarily the way you think it should be done.

Future goals:

Short-term, concentrate on the restaurant. Farther down the line, maybe other restaurant ventures. Still in the dream-castle stage: something with my brother, Chef Terence Feury.

Most memorable experiences:

  • Cooking for Paul Bocuse, one of the founders of “nouvelle cuisine,” and hearing his feedback
  • Preparing a small gala for Julia Child and then relaxing with my team as we talked with her well into the evening
  • Shopping for fresh ingredients at Rungis, a huge wholesale food market in Paris that distributes millions of tons each year

In my spare time, I:

Spend time with my wife and daughter. My wife is also a chef, and we often visit farm markets and supermarkets. Also like to ice skate.